If you are the parent of a school aged child, or if you work with kids, you are probably familiar with the terms STEM, and the new and improved acronym: STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math).
The projects done at school are meant to engage students in fun learning activities that challenge them to be creative thinkers.
Setting up a STEM area at home for your child will give them the independence to experiment and be creative whenever they wish. It will also enable them explore concepts at their own pace.
Most STEM activities for kids can be done with a handful of must have STEM supplies you probably already have. Putting them all in one spot encourages kids to start exploring, without having to search the house for needed supplies.
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When it comes to younger kids, STEM challenges inspire curiosity. They engage kids in hands-on projects that get them excited about learning.
With older elementary students, the projects can expose students to electronics. They give students an opportunity to explore physics and chemistry.
No matter what age you are working with, start by setting up your makerspace with some basic craft supplies: scissors, glue, construction paper, and markers.
Then add some of the other basic supplies used for STEM activities. You might also want to add a great book of project ideas, like my Awesome Engineering Activities for Kids.
If you have older elementary children, you may want to add a few of the more high-tech items. They make great gifts!
- Craft Foam
- Pipe Cleaners (Chenille Stems)
- Masking Tape
- Electrical Tape
- Index Cards
- Wood Craft Sticks
- Rubber Bands
- Binder Clips
- Paper Clips
- Drinking Straws
- Push Pins
- Paper Cups & Plates
- Thin Dowel Rods or Wood Skewers
- Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
- Brass Fasteners
- Yarn or String
- Cotton Swabs
- Old, Unwanted CD’s
- Coffee Filters
- Thin Copper Wire
- Magnifying Glass
- Magnetic Wand
- Plastic Pippettes
- Recyclables (cardboard tubes, boxes, plastic bottles, & lids)
STEM Materials for Older Kids
How to Organize STEM Supplies
Putting together a dedicated space for your child to experiment and be creative doesn’t have to take up a lot of room.
We have a plastic storage drawer unit in the corner of the kitchen that contains all the art supplies. The top 2 drawers house items for STEM activities. For STEM on the go, there is a caddy where they store items they use most often.
Don’t have a lot of room? Get a rolling art cart, which can easily be stored in a closet and brought out when needed. Add a few clear shoe boxes or baskets to organize supplies. Labeling them will help make locating items and clean up a breeze.
If you have a bigger area, you could organize supplies in clear shoe boxes on a bookcase. Add a small table and chair to make the work space complete.
Once you’ve gathered all your STEM materials in one spot, your kids may enjoy trying these ideas: